Capital Update March 27th by Rep. Chris Paddie

March 27, 2015 - This week has been the busiest week of the legislative session so far. But next week will be even busier as we will debate the budget bill on the House floor on Tuesday. The budget is the only bill that we are constitutionally required to pass each session. There will be wide ranging debates about what the state's priorities are and how to fund them.

This week, the House Energy Resources committee heard two bills that would rein in overbearing cities who have passed ordinances banning oil and gas activity. These bans are against the Texas Constitution and harmful to the Texas economic engine. The committee heard almost 10 hours of testimony, hearing from everyone from city representatives to the oil and gas industry to concerned citizens.

Also this week, the House passed a statewide texting and driving ban. This ban will make our streets safer, as distracted driving currently accounts for about 20% of all accidents. Ending this dangerous practice will save lives. This bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.

The Transportation Committee heard legislation that would take further steps to solve our long term funding needs. If you will recall, voters passed Proposition 1 last November, which funded $1.75 billion of the additional $5 billion we need annually to maintain our highway system. There are several bills that would dedicate anywhere from $2.5 to $3 billion dollars to highways, with the remainder of the needed money coming from ending diversions from the gas tax fund. While we are still debating which specific idea should go forward, I am committed to finding a long term solution for our transportation needs.

As the legislative session continues, I want to encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about legislation. I want to hear your opinion regarding the issues that are important to you. It is with your input that I am able to best represent you. My office number is 512-463-0556 or